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The Religion of the Sikhs, by Dorothy Field, [1914], at

p. 63



The Granth Sāhib contains the hymns of the first five Gurus, of the ninth Guru, and a couplet of Gobind Singh; also hymns from certain Indian religious reformers previous to the Sikhs. There were originally three editions of the Granth Sāhib. The first was compiled by Guru Arjan, the second by Bhāi Banno, and the third under the auspices of the tenth Guru, who added the hymns of Teg Bahādur and a couplet of his own. This is the usually accepted form. The hymns are not arranged according to authors, but by the thirty-two "rāgs," or musical measures to which they are composed. The name Nānak is used as a nom-de-guerre by the eight succeeding Gurus, who, however, are distinguished from one another by numbers. The Granth Sāhib is compared to a vast building, and the compositions of the Gurus to various wards. Thus, Guru Nānak's hymns are known as Ward I, Guru Angad's as Ward II, and so forth.

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The quotations given here include, firstly, selections from the hymns used as special services by the Sikhs, followed by miscellaneous examples from the Gurus, and the saints and reformers who preceded them. 1

From the Jāpji

The Jāpji is considered by the Sikhs to be an epitome of the doctrines contained in the Granth Sāhib. It is silently repeated by them early in the morning. Every Sikh must know it by heart, otherwise he is not deemed orthodox. It is the duty of all, even if they cannot read, to have themselves taught this great morning divine service. The composition appears to have been the work of Guru Nānak in advanced age. The greater part is here given.

There is but one God whose name is true, the Creator, [the Powerful, 2] devoid of fear and enmity, immortal, unborn, self-existent; by the favour of the Guru.

Repeat His name

The True One was in the beginning; the True One was in the primal age.

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The True One is now also, O Nānak; 1 the True One also shall be.


By thinking I cannot obtain a conception of Him, even though I think hundreds of thousands of times.

Even though I be silent and keep my attention firmly fixed on Him, I cannot preserve silence.

The hunger of the hungry for God subsideth not, though they obtain the load of the worlds.

If man should have thousands and hundreds of thousands of devices, even one would not assist him in obtaining God.

How shall man become true before God? How shall the veil of falsehood be rent?

By walking, O Nānak, according to the will of the Commander as preordained.


By His orders bodies are produced; His order cannot be described.

By His order souls are infused into them; by His order greatness is obtained.

By His order men are high or low; by His order they obtain preordained pain or pleasure.

By His order some obtain their reward; by

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[paragraph continues] His order others must ever wander in transmigration.

All are subject to His order; none is exempt from it.

He who understandeth God's order, O Nānak, is never guilty of egotism.


Who can sing His power? Who hath power to sing it?

Who can sing His gifts or know His signs?

Who can sing His attributes, His greatness, and His deeds?

Who can sing His knowledge, whose study is arduous?

Who can sing Hine, who fashioneth the body and again destroyeth it?

Who can sing Him, who taketh away life and again restoreth it?

Who can sing Him, who appeareth to be far, but is known to be near?

Who can sing Him, who is all-seeing and omnipresent?

In describing Him there would never be an end.

Millions of men give millions upon millions of descriptions of Him, but they fail to describe Him.

The Giver giveth; the receiver groweth weary of receiving.

In every age man subsisteth by His bounty.

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The Commander by His order hath laid out the way of the world.

Nānak, God the unconcerned is happy.

.      .      .      .      .


He is not established, nor is He created.

The pure one existeth by Himself,

They who worshipped Him have obtained honour.

Nānak, sing His praises who is the Treasury of excellences.

Sing and hear and put His love into your hearts.

Thus shall your sorrows be removed, and you shall be absorbed in Him who is the abode of happiness.

Under the Guru's instruction God's word is heard; under the Guru's instruction its knowledge is acquired; under the Guru's instruction man learns that God is everywhere contained.

The Guru is Shiv; the Guru is Vishnu and Brahma; 1 the Guru is Pārbati, 2 Lakhshmi, 3 and Saraswati. 4

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If I knew Him, should I not describe Him? He cannot be described by words,

My Guru hath explained one thing to me—

That there is but one Bestower on all living beings; may I not forget Him!


If I please Him, that is my place of pilgrimage to bathe in; if I please Him not, what ablutions shall I make?

What can all the created beings I behold obtain without previous good acts?

Precious stones, jewels, and gems shall be treasured up in thy heart if thou hearken to even one word of the Guru.

The Guru hath explained one thing to me. That there is but one Bestower on all living beings; may I not forget Him!


Were man to live through the four ages, 1 yea ten times longer;

Were he to be known on the nine continents, 2 and were everybody to follow in his train;

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Were he to obtain a great name and praise and renown in the world;

If God's look of favour fell not on him, no one would notice him.

He would be accounted a worm among worms, and even sinners would impute sin to him.

Nānak, God may bestow virtue on those who are devoid of it, as well as on those who already possess it;

But no such person is seen as can bestow virtue upon Him.

.      .      .      .      .


By hearing the Name man becometh as Shiv, Brahma, and Indar. 1

By hearing the Name even the low become highly lauded.

By hearing the Name the way of Jog 2 and the secrets of the body are obtained,

By hearing the Name man understandeth the real nature of the Shasters, the Simritis, and the Veds. 3

Nānak, the saints are ever happy.

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By hearing the Name sorrow and sin are no more.


By hearing the Name truth, contentment, and divine knowledge are obtained.

Hearing the Name is equal to bathing at the sixty-eight places of pilgrimage.

By hearing the Name and reading it man obtaineth honour.

By hearing the Name the mind is composed and fixed on God.

Nānak, the saints are ever happy.


By hearing the Name sorrow and sin are no more.

By hearing the Name, the depth of the sea of virtue is sounded.

By hearing the Name men become Shaikhs, Pirs, 1 and Emperors.

By hearing the Name a blind man findeth his Way.

By hearing the Name the unfathomable becometh fathomable.

Nānak, the saints are ever happy.

By hearing the Name sorrow and sin are no more.

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The condition of him who obeyeth God cannot be described.

Whoever trieth to describe it, shall afterward repent.

There is no paper, pen, or writer

To describe the condition of him who obeyeth God.

So pure is His Name—

Whoever obeyeth God knoweth the pleasure of it in his own heart.


By obeying Him wisdom and understanding enter the mind;

By obeying Him man knoweth all worlds.

By obeying Him man suffereth not punishment.

By obeying Him man shall not depart with Jam. 1

So pure is God's name,

Whoever obeyeth God knoweth the pleasure of it in his own heart.

.      .      .      .      .


By obeying Him man attaineth the gate of salvation;

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By obeying Him man is saved with his family;

By obeying Him the Guru is saved, and saveth his disciples;

By obeying Him, O Nānak, man wandereth not in quest of alms—

So pure is God's name—

Whoever obeyeth God knoweth the pleasure of it in his own heart.

.      .      .      .      .


When the hands, feet, and other members of the body are covered with filth,

It is removed by washing with water.

When thy clothes are polluted,

Apply soap, and the impurity shall be washed away.

So when the mind is defiled by sin,

It is cleansed by the love of the Name.

Men do not become saints or sinners by merely calling themselves so.

The recording angels take with them a record of man's acts.

It is he himself soweth, and he himself eateth.

Nānak, man suffereth transmigration by God's order.


Pilgrimage, austerities, mercy, and almsgiving on general and special occasions

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Whosoever performeth, may obtain some little honour;

But he who heareth and obeyeth and loveth God in his heart,

Shall wash off his impurity in the place of pilgrimage within him.

All virtues are thine, O Lord; none are mine.

There is no devotion without virtue.

From the Self-existent proceeded Māya, 1 whence issued a word which produced Brahma and the rest—

'Thou art true, Thou art beautiful, there is ever pleasure in Thy heart!'

What the time, what the epoch, what the lunar day, and what the week-day,

What the season, and what the month when the world was created,

The Pandits 2 did not discover; had they done so, they would have recorded it in the Purans. 3

Nor did the Qazis 4 discover it; had they done so, they would have recorded it in the Quran:

Neither the Jogi, nor any other mortal, knows the lunar day, or the week-day, or the season, or the month.

Only the Creator who fashioned the world knoweth when He did so.

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How shall I address Thee, O God? how shall I praise Thee? how shall I describe Thee? and how shall I know Thee?

Saith Nānak, everybody speaketh of Thee, one wiser than another.

Great is the Lord, great is His name: what He doeth cometh to pass.

Nānak, he who is proud shall not be honoured on his arrival in the next world.


There are hundreds of thousands of nether and upper regions.

Men have grown weary at last of searching for God's limits; the Veds say one thing, that God has no limit.

The thousands of Purans and Muhammadan books tell that in reality there is but one principle.

If God can be described by writing, then describe Him; but such description is impossible.

O Nānak, call Him great; only He Himself knoweth how great. He is.


Praisers praise God, but have not acquired a knowledge of Him.

As rivers and streams fall into the sea, but know not its extent.

Kings and emperors who possess oceans and mountains of property and wealth,

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Are not equal to the worm which forgetteth not God in its heart.

.      .      .      .      .


(The Sikh Te Deum)

What is that gate, what is that mansion where Thou, O God, sittest and watchest over all things!

How many various and countless instruments are played! How many musicians,

How many musical measures with their consorts, 1 and how many singers sing Thee!

Wind, water, and fire sing Thee; Dharmrāj 2 sings at Thy gate.

The recording angels, who know how to write, and on whose record Dharmrāj judgeth, sing Thee.

Ishar, 3 Brahma, and Devi, 4 over beautiful and adored by Thee, sing Thee.

Indar, seated on his throne with the gods at Thy gate, sing Thee.

Sidhs 5 in meditation sing Thee; holy men in contemplation sing Thee.

The continent, the true, and the patient sing Thee; unyielding heroes sing Thee.

The Pandits and the supreme Rikhis, 6 reading their Veds, sing Thee in every age.

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The lovely celestial maids who beguile the heart in the upper, middle, and nether regions sing Thee.

The jewels created by Thee with the sixty-eight places of Hindu pilgrimage sing Thee.

Mighty warriors and divine heroes sing Thee; the four sources of life sing Thee.

The continents, the worlds, and the universe made and supported by Thy hands sing Thee.

The saints who please Thee, and who are imbued with Thy love sing Thee.

The many others who sing Thee I cannot remember; how could Nānak recount them?

That God is ever true, He is the true Lord, and the true Name.

He who made this world is and shall be; He shall neither depart, nor be made to depart.

He who created things of different colours, descriptions, and species,

Beholdeth His handiwork which attesteth His greatness,

He will do what pleaseth Himself; no order may be issued to Him.

He is King, the King of kings, O Nānak; all remain subject to his will.

.      .      .      .      .


Make divine knowledge thy food, compassion thy store-keeper, and the voice which is in every heart the pipe to call to repast.

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Make Him who hath strung the whole world on His string thy spiritual Lord; let wealth and supernatural power be relishes for others.

Union and separation is the law which regulateth the world. By destiny we receive our portion.

Hail! Hail to Him,

The primal, the pure, without beginning, the indestructible, the same in every age!


One Māya in union with God gave birth to three acceptable children.

One of them is the creator, the second the provider, the third performeth the function of destroyer. 1

As it pleaseth God, He directeth them by His orders.

He beholdeth them, but is not seen by them. This is very marvellous.

Hail! Hail to Him,

The primal, the pure, without beginning, the indestructible, the same in every age!


His seat and His storehouses are in every world.

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What was to be put into them was put in at one time.

The Creator beholdeth His creation.

Nānak, true is the work of the True One.

Hail! Hail to Him,

The primal, the pure, without beginning, the indestructible, the same in every age!


Were one tongue to become a hundred thousand, and a hundred thousand to become twentyfold more,

I would utter the name of the one Lord of the world hundreds of thousands of times with all my tongues.

In this way I should ascend the stairs of the Lord, and become one with Him.

On hearing of the exaltation of the religious, the vile become jealous.

Nānak, the former have found the Kind One, while false is the boasting of the false.

From the Asa Ki Wār 1

(Repeated by Sikhs in the morning.)

There is but one God whose name is true, the

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[paragraph continues] Creator, devoid of fear and enmity, immortal, unborn, self-existent, great and beneficent.

.      .      .      .      .

Guru Angad

Were a hundred moons to rise, and a thousand suns to mount the sky;

Even with such light there would be appalling darkness without the Guru.

Guru Nānak

Nānak, they who very clever in their own estimation think not of the Guru,

Shall be left like spurious sesames in a reaped field.

They shall be left in the field, saith Nānak, without an owner:

The wretches may even bear fruit and flower, but they shall be as ashes within their bodies.

.      .      .      .      .

Men, trees, the banks of sacred streams, clouds, fields,

Islands, peoples, countries, continents, the universe,

Lakes, mountains, animals—O Nānak, God knoweth their condition.

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Nānak, God having created animals taketh care of them all.

The Creator who created the world hath to take thought for it also.

It is the same Creator who made the world who taketh thought for it.

To Him be obeisance; blessings be on Him His court is imperishable.

Nānak, without the true Name what is a sacrificial mask? what a sacrificial thread?

Guru Angad

The Jogis deem it their duty to acquire divine knowledge, the Brahmans to read the Veds,

The Khatris to exercise bravery, the Sudars to work for others;

But the highest duty of all is to repeat the name of the one God.

He who knoweth the secret of this

Is a bright God himself, and Nānak is his slave.

Guru Angad

There is one God, the God of all gods, the Supreme God of souls.

He who knoweth the secrets of the soul and of God,

Is a bright God himself, and Nānak is his slave.

.      .      .      .      .

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Guru Angad

He who offereth salutation and at the same time criticiseth God's works, hath made a mistake from the beginning.

Both his salutation and criticism are in vain; Nānak, such a person shall not obtain a place in God's court.

Guru Nānak

Ever remember that Lord by worshipping whom thou shalt find happiness.

Why hast thou done such evil deeds as thou shalt suffer for?

Do absolutely nothing evil, look well before then;

So throw the dice that thou mayest not lose with the Lord,

Nay, that thou mayest gain some profit.

.      .      .      .      .

The greatness of the great God cannot be expressed;

He is the Creator, the Omnipotent, the Bounteous; He provideth His creatures with sustenance.

Man must do the work which God destined for him from the beginning.

Nānak, except in the one God alone there is no abiding place.

He doeth what He pleaseth.

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From the Rahirās 1

(Recited by Sikhs at sunset.)

Guru Rām Dās

O servants of God and the true Guru, the true Being, offer this supplication unto Him,

We insects and worms seek Thy protection, O true Guru; mercifully enlighten us with the Name;

My friend and divine Guru, enlighten me with God's name.

Under the Guru's instruction, the Name is the helper of my soul; singing God's praises is my occupation.

Exceedingly fortunate are the men of God who have faith in Him and thirst for Him:

On obtaining the name of God, they are satisfied; when men meet the company of the saints, God's attributes are known.

They who obtain not the relish of God's name are unfortunate, and shall go to the god of death.

Curses on the lives, curses on the hopes of living, of those who enter not the true Guru's protection and society!

The saints who have obtained the society of

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the true Guru are those on whose foreheads it was so written from the beginning.

Blest is that true society, Nānak, by meeting which the relish of God is obtained, and the Name manifested,

Guru Arjan

O my soul, why proposeth thou exertion when God Himself is engaged in effort for thee?

He even putteth their food before the insects which He created in rocks and stones.

O my God, they who meet the society of the saints are saved.

Through the favour of the Guru they obtain the highest rank; though they be as dry wood, they are made green.

No one can rely on mother, father, friends, children, or wives.

God provideth every one with his daily food; why, O man, art thou afraid?

The kulang flieth away hundreds of miles, leaving her young behind her.

Who feedeth them? Who giveth them morsels to peck at? Have you not considered this?

God holdeth in the palm of His hand all treasures and the eighteen supernatural powers.

Nānak is ever a sacrifice unto thee; O God, Thou hast no end or bounds.

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Guru Rām Dās

That Being is pure, God is the pure Being, God is altogether inaccessible and illimitable.

All meditate on Thee; all meditate on Thee; O God, Thou art the true Creator.

All creatures are Thine; Thou providest for them all.

O saints, meditate on God who causeth all misery to be forgotten.

God Himself is the Lord, God Himself is the worshipper; Nānak, what a helpless creature is man!

Thou, O God, the one Supreme Being, art fully contained in every heart and pervadest everything.

Some men are givers, some beggars; all are Thy wondrous sport.

Thou Thyself art the Giver; Thou art the Enjoyer; I know none beside Thee.

Thou art the totally infinite Supreme Being; what attributes of Thine shall I recount?

The slave Nānak is a sacrifice unto those who serve Thee, unto those who serve Thee.

They who meditate on Thee, who meditate on Thee, O God, abide in happiness in this age.

They who meditate on God are emancipated, are emancipated, my friend; for them Death's noose is broken.

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All fear hath departed from those who have meditated on the fearless, the fearless God.

They who have worshipped, who have worshipped my God, are absorbed in Him.

Blest, blest are they who have meditated on God; the slave Nānak will become a sacrifice unto them,

O Infinite One, Thine infinite storehouses are filled with Thy worship, Thy worship.

O Infinite One, many are Thy saints, many are Thy saints who praise Thee.

They offer various, various worship to Thee, O God; they practise austerities and repeat Thy name, O endless One.

Various, various saints of Thine read many Simritis and Shastars, perform their daily duties and the six acts prescribed for Brahmans;

But only they are saints, good saints, saith Nānak, who please God, the Omnipotent.

Thou art the primal Being, the illimitable Creator; there is none so great as Thou.

Thou art the same in every age; Thou art ever and ever the same; Thou art the eternal Creator.

What pleaseth Thee prevaileth; what Thou doest cometh to pass.

Thou Thyself didst fashion the whole creation, yet, being created, it shall disappear.

Nānak singeth, the praises of the Creator who knoweth all things.

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From the Sohila 1

(Repeated at bedtime by pious Sikhs.)

Guru Nānak

In the house in which God's praise is sung and He is meditated on,

Sing the Sohila and remember the Creator.

Sing the Sohila of my Fearless Lord; I am a sacrifice to that song of joy by which everlasting comfort is obtained.

Ever and over living things are watched over; the Giver regardeth their wants.

When even Thy gifts cannot be appraised, who can appraise the Giver?

The year and the auspicious time for marriage are recorded; relations meet and pour oil on me the bride.

O my friends, pray for me that I may meet my Lord.

This message is ever sent to every house: such invitations are ever issued.

Remember the Caller; Nānak, the day is approaching.

Guru Nānak

There are six schools of philosophy, six teachers, and six doctrines.

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The Guru of gurus is but one, though He hath various forms.

O father, preserve the system

In which the Creator is praised; that will redound to thy glory.

As there is one sun and many seasons,

So, O Nānak, there is but one God, although His forms are many.

Guru Nānak

The sun and moon, O Lord, are Thy lamps; the firmament Thy salver; the orbs of the stars the pearls enchased in it.

The perfume of the sandal is Thine incense, the wind is Thy fan, all the forests are Thy flowers, O Lord of light.

What worship is this, O Thou Destroyer of birth? Unbeaten strains of ecstasy are the trumpets of Thy worship.

Thou hast a thousand eyes and yet not one eye; Thou hast a thousand forms and yet not one form;

Thou hast a thousand stainless feet and yet not one foot; Thou hast a thousand organs of smell and yet not one organ. I am fascinated by this play of Thine.

The light which is in everything is Thine, O Lord of light.

From its brilliancy everything is brilliant;

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By the Guru's teaching the light becometh manifest.

What pleaseth Thee is the real worship.

O God, my mind is fascinated with thy lotus feet as the bumble-bee with the flower: night and day I thirst for them.

Give the water of Thy favour to the sārang 1 Nānak, so that he may dwell in Thy name.

Guru Rām Dās

The city 2 is greatly filled with lust and wrath; but those are destroyed on meeting the saints.

By predestination the Guru is found, and the soul is absorbed in the region of God's love.

Salute the saint with clasped hands—this is a greatly meritorious act.

Prostrate thyself before him—this is a greatly religious act.

The infidel knoweth not the taste of God's essence; he beareth the thorn of pride in his heart.

The more he moveth, the more it pricketh him, and the more pain he feeleth: his head shall feel death's mace.

The saints of God are absorbed in God's name, and have destroyed the pain and fear of transmigration.

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They have found God the imperishable Being, and great honour is theirs in the earth's continents and the universe.

O God, we poor, and wretched, are Thine; preserve us, preserve us, Thou greatest of the great

The Name is Nānak's support and prop; I have obtained happiness through being absorbed only in God's name.

Guru Arjan

I pray you hear me, my friends, it is time to serve the saints.

Earn here the profit of God's name, and in the next world ye shall abide in happiness.

Human life groweth shorter every day and night;

O man, meet the Guru and arrange thine affairs.

This world is involved in wickedness and superstition; they who know God are saved.

He whom God awakeneth and causeth to drink the essence of His word, knoweth the story of the Ineffable.

Purchase that for which thou hast come into the world, and God by the Guru's favour will dwell in thy heart.

Thou shalt find a home with comfort and peace in God's own palace, and not return again to this world.

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O God, Searcher of hearts, Arranger, fulfil the desires of my heart.

The slave Nānak craveth the happiness of being made the dust of the saints’ feet.


The following hymns, by various Gurus, are not found in any of the special services.

Hymns by Guru Nānak

As a herdsman guardeth and keepeth watch over his cattle,

So God day and night cherisheth and guardeth man and keepeth him in happiness.

O Thou compassionate to the poor, I seek Thy protection; look on me with favour.

Preserve me in this world and the next. Wherever I look there art Thou contained; guard me, O Guardian.

Thou art the Giver, Thou art the Enjoyer, Thou art the support of the soul.


Come, my Friend, that I may behold Thee.

Standing at my door I am watching for Thee; in my heart is excessive longing;

In my heart is excessive longing; hear me, my Lord, I have reliance on Thee.

On beholding Thee I have become free from desire; the pain of birth and death is at an end.

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In all things is Thy light; from it art Thou known, but Thou art found by love.

Nānak, I am a sacrifice to the Friend; the True One is found when any mind cometh home.


The priests, the Shaikhs, and the potentates of the world are all beneath the earth.

Emperors pass away, but God ever flourisheth.

There is only Thou, there is only Thou, O God!


Neither demigods, nor demons, nor men,

Nor Sidhs, nor Strivers, nor this earth shall abide.

There is One; is there any other?

There is only Thou, there is only Thou, O God!

Neither the just nor the generous,

Nor the seven regions beneath the earth shall remain.

There is One: is there any other?

There is only Thou, there is only Thou, O God!


Not the regions of the sun and the moon,

Nor the seven continents, nor the seven seas,

Nor corn, nor wind shall abide.

There is only Thou, there is only Thou, O God!


Our maintenance is in nobody's power but God's:

To all of us but one hope abideth—

There is One: is there any other?

There is only Thou, there is only Thou, O God!

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Nānak, no one can erase

What is written on the forehead.

God it is who giveth man power and again taketh it away.

There is only Thou, there is only Thou, O God!


God's palace is beautiful; it is adorned with bright gems, rubies,

Pearls, and diamonds; it is surrounded by a golden fortress, and is an abode of pleasure.

How shall I scale the fortress without a ladder? By meditating on God through the Guru I shall behold Him.

The Guru giving me God's name is my ladder, my boat, and my raft;

The Guru is the lake, the sea, and the boat; the Guru is the sacred stream.

By Guru Angad

(Upon the completion of Guru Angad's new alphabet he composed the following hymn:)


O Thou who art perfect, light of the soul, the Supreme God, my beloved, my soul and body,

Bewitcher, Thou hast bewitched my heart; I have obtained understanding by pondering on Thy Word.

I am the handmaiden of my Lord.

On clasping the feet of God, the life of the world, I have destroyed and parted with pride.

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I was perverse and low, but my evil understanding which hath caused me pain of mind and body hath left me.

Since I began to love the joyous God, my mind hath been consoled by repeating His name.

Having forgotten pride, I have abandoned the world, and true wisdom hath entered my heart.

Since I have become reconciled with Him who is without enmity or stain, I have lost all regard for men's opinion.

O my Beloved, Support of my soul, there has been none like Thee in the past, and there shall be none like Thee in the future.

Nānak, she who is dyed with Thy name is a happy wife; Thy name is my refuge.

By Guru Amar Dās

(The Guru points out that salvation can be found in the home with the help of the true Guru.)


I wandered through the whole world calling out for my Beloved, yet my thirst departed not;

But on meeting the true Guru, O Nānak, my thirst departed, and I found my beloved in my own home on my return.

By Guru Rām Dās

Nānak, the pious are adorned by the Word, and night and day sing God's praises.

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God acteth Himself and causeth to act; He adorneth men by His word.

He Himself is the True Guru; He is the Word; in every age His saints are dear to Him.

In every age His saints are dear to Him; He Himself adorneth them; He Himself appointeth them to His service.

He Himself is far-seeing. He Himself causeth men to serve Him.

He Himself is the Bestower of merits and the remover of demerits; He causeth His name to dwell in men's hearts.

Nānak is ever a sacrifice unto that True One who Himself acteth and causeth to act.

By Guru Arjan 1

He Himself instructeth, and He Himself understandeth;

He Himself is blended with everything;

He made His own expansion;

Everything is His, He is the Creator.

Say can anything be effected without Him?

The One God is in every place;

He Himself acteth His own parts;

He exhibiteth plays of endless parts;

He is in the soul, and the soul is in Him;

Nānak, His worth cannot be described.

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True, true, true is the Lord God;

By the Guru's favour some rare person describeth Him.

True, true, true is He who created all.

Among millions some rare one knoweth Thee, O God;

Excellent, excellent, excellent is Thy form,

Very beautiful, unbounded, and incomparable.

Pure, pure, pure is Thy word;

Every one heareth it with his ears, and repeateth it.

Holy, holy, holy, holy

Is Thy name; Nānak uttereth it with heartfelt Love.

Prayer by Guru Arjan

O Lord, King of men, Friend of the poor, Purifier of sinners,

Dispeller of fear and terror, Abode of mercy, Treasury of excellencies, profitable is Thy service.

O God Gopal, great Gobind,

I have taken the protection of Thy feet, Thou merciful God, cause me to cross the terrible ocean of the world.

Dispeller of lust and wrath, Burner of pride and worldly love, Murari, Honey of the soul,

Sustainer of the earth, set aside my transmigration and preserve mine honour, Thou Primal Joy.

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O compassionate to the poor, ever happy, who fillest all space, I beg the dust of Thy saints’ feet.

From the evils of worldly and sensual love, and from the sins of hope and desire preserve us.

Preserve the faith and remove doubt from our hearts; save us, O Formless One!

Hymns By Guru Teg Bahādur

The sixth, seventh, and eighth Gurus left no hymns, but relied on the Granth Sāhib for the means of conveying their instructions. Teg Bahādur, the ninth Guru, however, left a large number of sacred writings, which were incorporated into the Granth Sāhib by his son Gobind Singh. The following is typical of his rather melancholy manner:


Adore God, adore God; thy life passeth away.

Why should I warn thee every moment? why understandest thou not, O fool? The body is like hail, it vanisheth in a moment.

Reject all doubt and repeat God's name; at the last moment this alone will depart with thee.

Forsake sensual pleasures as poison; take the praise of God to thy heart; Nānak proclaimeth, the opportunity is passing away.


O man, love God;

Hear His praises with thine ears, and sing His songs with thy tongue.

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Associate with holy men, remember God, and thou shalt be cleansed from sin.

Death wandereth about, O friend, like a serpent with protruding fangs.

And it will seize thee sooner or later; understand this in thy heart,

Saith Nānak, worship God; thine opportunity is passing away.

By Guru Gobind Singh

This couplet is the only composition of the tenth Guru found in the Granth Sāhib, and was sent by Gobind Singh to his father just before the martyrdom of the latter:


Strength is thine; thy fetters are loosed; thou hast every resource.

Nānak, everything is in thy power; it is only thou who canst assist thyself.


There are in the Granth Sāhib a large number of hymns by saints and hermits who preceded Nānak. Guru Arjan, when editing the volume, did not hesitate to include such works, showing how Sikhism had borrowed from previous thinkers, principally, perhaps, from Kabīr. Among the authors who are represented there are at least two Muhammadan saints, Farid and Bhikan, and very many of the others, though nominally Hindu, were influenced by Muhammadanism. Kabīr,

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who was brought up by Muhammadans, contributes a large number of hymns; Ramānand, a disciple of Rāmānuj and Guru to Kabīr, contributes a hymn; and one version of the Granth, preserved at Mangat, contains a hymn composed by Mirā Bāi, Queen of Chitaur. Guru Arjan did not originally include this work, owing to the fact that in his opinion the lady did not wholly escape from the influence of idolatry.

From the fifteen saints whose hymns are found in the Granth, the following extracts from Kabīr and Shaikh Farid are chosen. Mira Bāi's hymn is also included.

By Kabīr

Long not for a dwelling in heaven, and fear not to dwell in hell;

What will be, will be; O my soul, hope not at all.

Sing the praises of God from whom the supreme reward is obtained.

What is devotion, what penance and austerities, what fasting and ablutions,

Unless thou know the way to love and serve God?

Be not glad at the sight of prosperity and grieve not at the sight of adversity;

As is prosperity so is adversity; what God proposeth shall be accomplished,

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Saith Kabīr, through the saints I now know in my heart

That the worshipper in whose heart God dwelleth, performeth the best worship.

.      .      .      .      .

I was in immobile and mobile creatures, in worms and in moths;

I passed through many births of various kinds.

In this way I occupied many bodies,

But when, O God, I assumed human birth,

I was a Jogi, a Jati, a penitent, a Brahmachari,

Sometimes a king, an emperor, and sometimes a beggar.

The apostates shall die, but the saints shall all live,

And drink the elixir of God with their tongues.

Saith Kabīr, O God, have mercy on us;

We have grown weary; make us now whole!

By Shaikh Farid

Humility is the word, forbearance the virtue, virility the priceless spell;

Make these three thy dress, O sister, and the Spouse shall come into thy power.

There are few saints,

Who, though wise, are simple,

Though strong, are weak,

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And, though having not, divide what they have.

Utter not one disagreeable word, since the true Lord is in all men.

Distress no one's heart; every heart is a priceless jewel.

All men's hearts are jewels; to distress them is by no means good;

If thou desire the Beloved, distress no one's heart.

Hymn by Mirā Bāi

God hath entwined my soul, O mother,

With His attributes, and I have sung of them.

The sharp arrow of His love hath pierced my body through and through, O mother.

When it struck me I knew it not; now it cannot be endured, O mother.

Though I use charms, incantations, and drugs; the pain will not depart.

Is there any one who will treat me? Intense is the agony, O mother.

Thou, O God, art near; Thou art not distant; come quickly to meet me.

Saith Mirā, the Lord, the mountain-wielder, who is compassionate, hath quenched the fire of my body, O mother.

The Lotus-eyed hath entwined my soul with the twine of His attributes,

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After the death of Gobind Singh—the tenth Guru—a new Granth was compiled in his honour, which is known as the Granth of the Tenth Guru, in order to distinguish it from the Granth of Guru Arjan—the Adi, or First Granth. This volume contains Gobind Singh's Jāpji, the Akal Ustat, or Praise of the Creator, hymns in praise of the sword, and an interesting and elaborate account of the Guru's own history and that of his predecessors, which is called the Wonderful Drama.

From the Jāpji 1

The tenth Guru spoke with his holy mouth—

God hath no quoit or marks, no colour, no caste, no lineage,

No form, no complexion, no outline, no costume; none can in any way describe Him.

He is immovable, fearless, luminous, and measureless in might;

He is accounted King of kings, Lord of millions of Indars.

He is Sovereign of the three worlds, demigods,

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men, and demons; the woods and dales declare Him indescribable.

O Lord, who can tell all Thy names? the wise call Thee special names according to Thy deeds.

From the Akal Ustat

(Praise of the Immortal)

May we have the protection of the immortal Being!

May we have the protection of All-steel!

May we have the protection of All-death!

May we have the protection of All-steel!

(Ten Sawaiyas, or quatrains, which occur in the Akal Ustat are recited at the Pahul, or baptism of the tenth Guru. The following are extracts: )

Trained soldiers, powerful, irresistible, well accoutred with coats of mail crush their enemies;

Filled with high martial spirit they would put mountains to flight, themselves unshaken;

They would shatter their enemies, destroy rebels, crush the pride of furious elephants;

Yet without the favour of God, the Lord of wealth, they should all depart at last and leave the world.

Even the demons, gods, serpents, and ghosts who repeat God's name in the past, future, and present;

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All the beings which in sea and land every moment set up God in their hearts,

Shall find their good deeds and glory increase; they shall hear the voices of gratulation and the multitude of their sins shall depart.

The congregations of saints wander happy in the world; all their enemies on beholding them are cowed.


Thou art in the tree, Thou art in its leaves,

Thou art in the earth, Thou art in the firmament.

Thy name is repeated again and again,

Thy name is fixed in man's heart.

Thou art space, Thou art time,

Thou art the occupant, Thou art the place,

Thou art unborn, Thou art fearless,

Thou art impalpable, Thou art indestructible,

Thou art continence, Thou art fasting,

Thou art deliverance, Thou art wisdom,

Thou alone art, Thou alone art.

The dwellers of the East know not Thy limit, the goddess Hingula 1 who dwelleth in the Himalayas meditateth on Thee.

The Jogis practise Jog to be united with Thee; how many suspend their breath to obtain Thee. The Arabs of Arabia worship Thy name.

The Firangis of France worship Thee, ... the

p. 104

residents of the West recognise Thee as the object of their love.

The Marathas, the Magadhis 1 heartily do Thee penance, the natives of Tilang 2 fix Thee in their hearts, and recognise Thee as the abode of religion.

(The following hymn is one of those recited while the baptismal water is being prepared;)

O man, practise asceticism in this way:

Consider thy house altogether as the forest, and remain an anchoret at heart.

Make continence thy matted hair, union with God thine ablutions, thy daily religious duties the growth of thy nails,

Divine knowledge thy spiritual guide; admonish thy heart and apply God's name as ashes to thy body.

Eat little, sleep little, love mercy and forbearance.

Ever practise mildness and patience, and thou shalt be freed from the three qualities.

Attach not to thy heart lust, wrath, covetousness, obstinacy, and worldly love.

Thus shalt thou behold the Real Soul of this world, and obtain the Supreme Being.

God hath no disease, or sorrow, or worldly love, or mother, no Karma, no superstition, no birth, no caste;

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He hath no jealousy, no garb, and is unborn.

I bow to Him as one I bow to Him as one!

.      .      .      .      .

He hath no worldly love, no home, no grief, no relation.

He is afar off, pure, undefiled, none can behold

He hath no caste, no language, no friend, no minister.

I bow to the one independent Being! I bow to the one independent Being!


(In view of the controversy as to whether or not the Sikhs are a sect of the Hindus, the following quotation is also interesting:)


I practise not fasting, nor observe the Ramzām;

I serve Him who will preserve me at the last hour.

The one Lord of the earth is my God.

Who judgeth both Hindus and Musalmans.

I neither go on a pilgrimage to Makka, nor worship at Hindu places of pilgrimages.

I serve the one God and none other.

I neither worship as the Hindus, nor pray as the Musalmans.

I take the formless God into my heart, and there make obeisance unto Him.

I am neither a Hindu nor a Musalman.

p. 106

In Praise of the Sword

I bow with love and devotion to the Holy Sword.

Assist me that I may complete this work.


Thou art the Subduer of countries, the Destroyer of the armies of the wicked, in the battlefield Thou greatly adornest the brave.

Thine arm is infrangible, Thy brightness refulgent, Thy radiance and splendour dazzle like the sun.

Thou bestowest happiness on the good, Thou terrifiest the evil, Thou scatterest sinners, I seek Thy protection,

Hail! hail to the Creator of the world, the Saviour of creation, my Cherisher, hail to Thee, O Sword!


I bow to Him who holdeth the arrow in His hand; I bow to the Fearless One;

I bow to the God of gods who is in the present and the future.


I bow to the Scimitar, the two-edged Sword, the Falchion, and the Dagger.

Thou, O God, hast over one form; Thou art over unchangeable.

I bow to the Holder of the mace

Who diffused light through the fourteen worlds.

I bow to the Arrow and the Musket,

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I bow to the Sword, spotless, fearless, and unbreakable;

I bow to the powerful Mace and Lance

To which nothing is equal.

I bow to Him who holdeth the discus,

Who is not made of the elements and who is terrible.

I bow to the Arrow and the Cannon

Which destroy the enemy.

I bow to the Sword and the Rapier

Which destroy the evil.

I bow to all weapons called Shastar (which may be held).

I bow to all weapons called Astar (which may be hurled or discharged).


It is not by the practice of perpetual silence, nor by the relinquishment of pride, nor by the adoption of a religious dress, nor by shaving the head,

Nor by wearing a wooden necklace, nor by twisting matted hair round the head that God is found.

I speak the truth, hear it attentively—without entering the protection of the Compassionate to the poor

And loving Him can God be found? the Merciful One is not pleased with circumcision.


Were I to make all the islands my paper, and the seven seas my ink;

p. 108

Were I to cut down all trees, and turn them into pens for writing;

Were I to make Saraswati 1 dictate for millions of ages; were I to write with the hand of Ganesh, 2

O Thou who holdest the destroying sword, I could not please Thee even a little without offering Thee homage.

Thou turnest men like me from blades of grass into mountains; than Thou there is none other cherisher of the poor.

O God, do Thou Thyself pardon mine errors; there is none who hath erred like me.

The houses of those who have served Thee are all seen filled with wealth.

In this Kal age and at all times there is great confidence in the powerful arm of the Sword,

Which in one moment destroyeth millions of demons like Sunibh and Nisumbh. 3


They who never sought shelter in the battlefield and who retreated not even two paces when blows were dealt around them,

The demons who could not be drowned in the sea, and who could not he burnt by fiery arrows,

On beholding thy flash, O Sword, cast aside shame and fled.

p. 109

From the Wonderful Drama

He (Nānak) established religion in the Kal age,

And showed the way unto all holy men. …

[The narrative continues:]

Nānak assumed the body of Angad,

And made his religion current in the world.

Afterwards Nānak was called Amar Dās,

As one lamp is lit from another.

When the time for the fulfilment of the blessing came,

Then Rām Dās became Guru.

Amar Dās gave him the Guruship according to the ancient blessing,

And took the road to paradise himself.

The holy Nānak was revered as Angad,

Angad was recognised as Amar Dās,

And Amar Dās became Rām Dās.

The pious saw this, but not the fools,

Who thought them all distinct;

But some rare person recognised that they were all one.

They who understood this obtained perfection—

Without understanding perfection cannot be obtained.

When Rām Dās was blended with God,

He gave the Guruship to Arjan.

When Arjan was going to God's city

He appointed Har Gobind in his place.

When Har Gobind was going to God's city,

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He seated Har Rāi in his place.

Har Krishan, his son, afterwards became Guru.

After him came Teg Bahādur,

Who protected the frontal marks and sacrificial threads of the Hindus,

And displayed great bravery in the Kal age.

When he put an end to his life for the sake of holy men,

He gave his head but uttered not a groan.

He suffered martyrdom for the sake of his religion;

He gave his head but swerved not from his determination.

I shall now tell my own history,

How God brought me into the world as I was performing penance

On the mountain of Hem Kunt,

There I performed very great austerities

And worshipped Great-death.

I performed such penance

That I became blended with God.

When God gave me the order,

I assumed birth in this Kal age.

I did not desire to come,

As my attention was fixed on God's feet.

God remonstrated earnestly with me,

And sent me into this world with the following orders …


[God then tells the Guru how He had created the demi-gods and the various prophets, but how

p. 111

they had all been false to their religion, and had attracted glory to themselves.]


"None of them recognized Me, the Supreme Being.

I have cherished thee as My son,

And created thee to extend My religion.

Go and spread My religion there,

And restrain the world from senseless acts."

I stood up, clasped my hands, bowed my head, and replied:

"Thy religion shall prevail in the world when Thou vouchsafest assistance."


On this account God sent me.

Then I took birth and came into the world.

As He spoke to me so I speak unto men:

I bear no enmity to any one.

All who call me the Supreme Being

Shall fall into the pit of hell.

Recognise me as God's servant only

Have no doubt whatever of this.

I and the slave of the Supreme Being,

And have come to behold the wonders of the world.

I tell the world what God told. me,

And will not remain silent through fear of mortals.

[The Guru then continues his teaching and finally utters this prayer:]

p. 112

Great-death, be Thou my protector;

All-steel, I am Thy slave,

Deeming me Thine own, preserve me;

Think of mine honour, whose arm Thou hast taken.

Preserve me and let none trample on me;

Be Thou ever my cherisher!

Thou art the Lord, I am Thy slave.

Deeming me Thine own, be gracious unto me;

Perform everything for me Thyself;

Thou art the King of kings;

It is Thou alone who cherisheth the poor;

I have arrived and am lying weary at Thy door.

Thou art my Lord, I am Thy slave.

Deeming me Thy slave, reach me Thy hand and save me

Destroy all mine enemies.


[The following words were uttered in Persian by Gobind Singh just before his death, and were adopted by Ranjit Singh for his coinage when he became Maharajah; ]

Gobind Singh obtained from Guru Nānak

Hospitality, the sword, victory, and prompt assistance.

A Modern Sikh Prayer

After the completion of the morning and evening obligatory divine services, and of the uninterrupted reading or chanting of the Granth Sāhib the Sikhs repeat a prayer or supplication called Ardas:

p. 113

Sri Wāhguru Ji Ki Fatah!

Having first remembered the Sword meditate on Guru Nānak;

Then on Guru Angad, Amur Dās, and Ram Dās; may they assist us!

Remember Arjan, Har Gobind, and the holy Hari Rai;

Meditate on the holy Hari Krishan, a sight of whom dispelled all sorrow.

Remember Teg Bahādur, and the nine treasures shalt come hastening to your homes.

Ye holy Gurus, everywhere assist us.

May the tenth king, the holy Guru Gobind Singh, everywhere assist us.

God Himself knoweth, He Himself acteth; it is He who adjusteth.

Standing in His presence, Nānak, make supplication.

Sikhs of the true Immortal God, turn your thoughts to the teachings of the Granth Sāhib and the deeds of the Khalsa; utter Wāhguru!

Meditating on the Deathless One, endowed with all power, compassionate, and just, utter Wāhguru!

Meditating on the deeds of those who worshipped the Name, plied the sword, ate and distributed their food in companionship, and overlooked others’ faults, O Khalsa, utter Wāhguru!

O Deathless Creator, illimitable, this creature

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forgetting Thy name is so attached to worldly goods, that he hath forgotten the Real Thing. Without Thy supreme mercy, how shall we cross the ocean of the world? O great King, lust, wrath, greed, worldly love, jealousy, and other evil passions greatly trouble our minds, but on coming towards Thee worldly maladies and afflictions are healed and dispelled. Show us such favour that we may by word and deed be Thine, and that in all things we may obtain Thine assistance and support.

Grant to Thy Sikhs the gift of Sikhism, the gift of the Guru's instruction, the gift of faith, the gift of confidence in Thee, and the gift of reading and understanding the holy Granth Sāhib.

May the Sikh choirs, mansions, and banners ever abide! Victory to the faith! May the minds of the Sikhs be humble but their intellects exalted! Utter Wāhguru! Wāhguru!! Wāhguru!!!

We offer this Ardas in Thy presence and at Thy lotus feet. Pardon our errors and mistakes. May all Sikhs who read and hear the Gurus’ hymns be profited!

Through Nānak, may Thy name, O God, be exalted,

And all prosper by Thy grace!

Sri Wāhguru ji ka Khalsa! Sri Wāhguru ji ki Fatah!






Printed by Hazell, Watson & Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury.



64:1 Throughout the quotations the unusual spelling adopted by Mr. Macauliffe, e.g. Makka for Mecca, Quran for Koran, Veds for Vedas, Indar for India, Krishan for Krishna, etc., is followed.

64:2 These words, though omitted by Mr. Macauliffe, are inserted in deference to Sikh opinion.

65:1 In Oriental poetry it is the custom to insert the name of the poet at the end of any section.

67:1 Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiv form the Hindu triad, and are generally speaking regarded as the gods of creation, preservation, and destruction.

67:2 Consort of Shiv.

67:3 The Hindu goddess of wealth, consort of Vishnu.

67:4 The Hindu goddess of eloquence and learning.

68:1 The Sat, Tretā, Dwāpar, and Kal ages, corresponding to the golden, silver, brass, and iron ages of Greece and Rome.

68:2 Ancient Indian geographers divided the world into nine regions, or continents.

69:1 Indar, an ancient Hindu Deity, King of the Gods. In the Vedas, Lord of the sky.

69:2 Jog, originally meant the union of the soul of God. It is applied to certain practices adopted by ascetics (Jogis) for that end.

69:3 Sacred books of the Hindus.

70:1 Muhammadan saints.

71:1 Death.

73:1 Māya, illusion.

73:2 Pandit means literally a learned man. Here Brahmans learned in Sanscrit.

73:3 Sacred books of the Hindus, of which there are fourteen in number.

73:4 Muhammadan saints.

75:1 Indian musical measures (or rāgs) were allotted wives and daughters, i.e. variations of these tunes.

75:2 God of death.

75:3 A name of Shiv.

75:4 A Hindu goddess.

75:5 An ancient order of Jogis.

75:6 Ancient sages.

77:1 The Hindu Trinity.

78:1 The word Wār originally meant a dirge for the brave slain in battle; then it meant any song of praise; and in this collection it means God's praises generally.

82:1 The Rahirās is a collection of hymns by several Gurus.

86:1 The word is derived from sowan wela—in Punjābi, 'the time for sleep.'

88:1 The pied Indian cuckoo, a bird famous in Indian literature.

88:2 The body.

94:1 Guru Arjan was the compiler of the Granth Sāhib. He wrote a great number of hymns himself and more than half the sacred volume is made up of his own compositions.

101:1 Guru Gobind Singh's Jāpji was composed in order to supply the Sikhs with an equivalent to the Hindu Vishnu Sahasar Nām——Vishnu's thousand names. It is held by them in the same estimation as the Japji of Guru Nānak.

103:1 Hingula is another of the names of Pārbati or Durga, consort of Shiv.

104:1 Natives of the country of Magadha, now South Bihar.

104:2 The Telegu country, on the east coast of India, between Orissa and Madras.

108:1 Goddess of eloquence and learning.

108:2 The elephant-headed god of learning.

108:3 Hindu names of demons.